Among the most difficult stages of any challenge in life is understanding how to deal with the reality that you may be stuck. Finding a solution is not only challenging, but it can also hinder your mindset, slow you down, discourage you, or even make you feel like you want to give up entirely. This goes for any challenge in life. Whether a mental one – a period in your life where you feel as though things are not going your way, or a challenge of growth with regards to a personal project, a business, or a design. Being “stuck” is one of the most frustrating places to find yourself. As a Creative and a Designer, there is nothing more frustrating to me than being stuck. Especially when I know exactly what it is I want to produce, but somehow I’ve reached a point where I’m not quite sure how to make it happen. How do we overcome this moment? How do we go from being stuck, to getting back on track?
Imagine for a moment you are driving down a rocky road, and as you are carefully navigating through the terrain, one of your cars’ wheels gets stuck, and you stop making progress. What do you do? Now depending on your level of experience, your first reaction may vary. First panic, then frustration, maybe a little stress, but ultimately, you really need to get that car out! What do you do? The first fact you have to face is that your car has STOPPED. Something needs to change. You try drivING backwards, then drivING forwards. TurnING left, then turnING right. It does not work. You find yourself gettING out of your car and lookING behind the car to see what has actually happened to stop your progress. At each step in the above mentioned story, an action was taken. Many actions were taken, and to actually free that car, many more would have had to be taken too. Digging the car out, moving the rock that was in the way, pushing the car, towing the car… actions. Taking action is the only way to free that car.
So now that we’ve figured out how to move your car, let’s apply this concept to our lives. I’ve spoken before about asking yourself the question “what is this teaching me?” instead of asking “why is this happening to me?”. The reason for this is because although the reality of a challenge can be frustrating, the process of overcoming a challenge needs action. Asking “why is this happening?” is the same as sitting in your car and asking why it stopped moving. Asking “what is this teaching me?” means you have to learn something, the same way getting out of the car and taking a better look gives you more insight into why you stopped.
Being stuck means a force needs to be shifted. A mentality changed. An approach adjusted. A new method introduced, and new possibilities to be considered. It’s the same with any challenge you face in your life. You have to take action. Start doing something about it. Something different. As you begin to figure it out, you will grow, and what you find through this process is that while you are growing, your mind goes through a series of “actions.” Actions that might be hard to accept, but they are telling a story. When you go through a period of growth, you find yourself, healing, transitioning, learning, maturing, failing, trying, starting, inspiring, seeking, challenging, falling, rising, persevering, developing… you as a person go through changes. Actual changes in your personality, your character, and your mindset that shift in order to overcome something and even see the world differently. These are changes that will help you master your craft, better your self, and attack your challenges in new and more effective ways.
Another example is the physical body. When we are tired, the remedy is sleeping. When we are sick, the remedy is healing. When we are stressed, the remedy is relaxing. When we are ignorant, the remedy is learning. Now, how you go about achieving these remedies is also a challenge, but if you start from the end result and work backwards, giving yourself a goal, it may help you achieve that remedy faster and more effectively. Regardless of how, you still need to take action. To simply continue what you thought would work without taking a moment to look at the big picture, is like continuing to press the gas while trying to get your car out – in some cases, it could actually make it worse!
When things get hard. Don’t be stagnant. Don’t lose faith in the possibility of a positive outcome. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Diversify your approach. Broaden your horizons. Negative situations are meant to make you rise up to their challenges. They are meant to teach you something – something you don’t already know how to do. You wouldn’t just leave your car on that road if it got stuck, you’d find a way to get it out. Don’t leave your positivity behind when it gets challenged. Ask questions, seek new answers. Try new things. Don’t stop doing something. If it does not happen right away, keep trying, until you find yourself succeeding. Even growing, is an action.